Claddagh band

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Two Claddagh Bands
Two Claddagh Bands

In the summer of 1964, during the World’s Fair, my mother immigrated to New York City from Ireland, at age 20. As a teenager, like many Irish people, she had worn a Claddagh band – a ring created in what is now called Galway on the West Coast of Ireland. The Claddagh is a symbol of love and can be worn in different ways to indicate the romantic status of the wearer. My mother met my father in Manhattan, a young man of 24 from Syracuse New York and they fell in love. After a time my mother decided to return home to Ireland. My father pursued her and married her there in County Sligo – a place William Yeats called “The Land of Heart’s Desire”. They returned to New York and had two children. We lived on the Upper East Side for two years, and on my second birthday my father took the family to Montreal, Quebec where we then settled. We lived through the tumultuous political atmosphere of Quebec in the 1970s and endured waves of separatist rhetoric and anti-Anglophone prejudice. My mother made every effort to ensure that we remembered our Irish heritage, while my father constantly reminded us to be proud of the fact that we were American - born in the greatest city on earth.  Years later, when I was living in France, I had a chance to visit Galway. I was determined to see the places I had read about in the poetry of Yeats. It was there that I purchased my own Claddagh band, which I wear to this day. Heart turned inwards. Like my father, I met a girl in New York City...

Place(s): Ireland,New York
Year: 1964

– Colin Mahar

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant